Ferry toll hits 156 as search gets tougher

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Associated Press

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 23 at 8:34 AM

JINDO, South Korea (AP) — Searchers have now recovered 156 bodies from the waters where a South Korean ferry sank a week ago. And relatives of the nearly 150 people still missing are pressing the government to quickly finish the recovery effort.

But the work is reaching a more complicated phase. An official says divers now have to rip through cabin walls in order to retrieve more victims.

And a sensitive issue is looming in the background -- the issue of when to bring in the cranes and begin the salvage effort by cutting up and raising the submerged ferry. The government has warned that the work might eliminate air pockets that could be sustaining survivors.

Some relatives have given up hope of that. The father of a 17-year-old girl who is among the missing says, "Now we think we have to deal with this realistically." He says families don't want the bodies of victims to decay any further, so the bodies should be removed as quickly as possible.

But another relative of a missing passenger says most families don't want to even think about a salvage effort.

The government hasn't said when that work will begin, but it has said it will be considerate of the families of the missing.

%@AP Links

075-r-10-(sound of South Korean Coast Guard vessel, with motor idling today as bodies are offloaded)--This is the sound of a South Korean Coast Guard vessel's motor idling as bodies are offloaded. (23 Apr 2014)

<<CUT *075 (04/23/14)££ 00:10

APPHOTO SEL817: Searchers and divers look for people believed to have been trapped in the sunken ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin walls to retrieve more victims. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT (23 Apr 2014)

<<APPHOTO SEL817 (04/23/14)££

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